Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stacy Sauls: "You are the keepers of our stories"

Bishop Stacy Sauls;
photo by Lori K. Richardson
KANUGA, North Carolina – Here at the Episcopal Communicators national conference, the conversation today shifted away from nifty Internet tools to the mission of the Church.

We were treated today to hearing Bishop Stacy Sauls, who is the chief operating officer of The Episcopal Church and is lately in the line-of-fire with proposals to restructure and trim the bureaucratic structure at the top. He left his position as Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky, to take on this job at the Church Center in New York, serving at the behest of Presiding Bishop Katharine.

Sauls, by the way, is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and he went to St. Paul’s Memorial Church when he was an undergraduate years ago.

Sauls talked with us for two hours about how the mission of the Church is to feed the hungry, free the captives, and heal disease – to be the incarnation of Jesus in the world. To do that, he implored us, we must continually “remember God” in their work.

“I believe we are at a time when we are beginning to remember,” he said. “We are beginning to remember who we are… This is one of the most hopeful moments the Church has every experienced.”

Sauls gave a short history lesson on how the Church lost its way beginning with its compromise with power in the 4th century and how it connects with our present predicament as a church (the video below has a segment of that portion of his talk). “We got into bed with power and power has thrown us out.”

Sauls then asked the Episcopal Communicators to be in forefront of telling a different story based not based on power, but a story based on the mission of Jesus to feed the poor, heal the lame and free the captives.

“We have an opportunity to remember who we are,” he said. “Communication exists to promote communion.”

Our church, he said, needs to reclaim the language of God and Christ. “We have ceded a lot of good stuff to the crazy people,” he said. “You are the keepers of our stories,”

“This is the most interesting, rewarding time in the history of the church.”

The video below was taken by Lori:

By James Richardson, Fiat Lux

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